Review of Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega #2) was yet another amazing book by Patricia Briggs. She introduces an array of new, interesting characters while developing the characters of Charles and Anna beyond my expectations. I loved the setting of the book as well - it was a nice change from the calm of the mountains of Montana to the noisy streets of Seattle, Washington. This book was full of twists and turns and surprised me throughout its entirety. Amongst all the excitement, action, and turmoil that new packs, alphas, vampires, witches, and a sea fae create, Briggs also develops a beautiful romance story between Charles and Anna. Just as they seem to be settling into their newly formed mate bond, they are faced with countless obstacles which put dire strain on them as individuals and as a couple who can't live without each other.
What I love most about this book is the different ways Briggs develops the characters of both Charles and Anna. Charles has locked up all human emotion for so long so it would not interfere with the things he had to do (such as enforcing his father's policies, usually by killing the offenders). Once Anna enters his life, all those emotions come flooding back in, and he doesn't have the tools to deal with them. When he tries to deal with this by "putting a wall up", he also shuts Anna out. When he opens up and lets Anna in, he's left vulnerable and feels that he isn't able to protect her, but he soon learns that she does not need protecting - finds strength in his vulnerability. On the other hand, Anna, who once thought of herself as a weak, submissive wolf, finally finds her inner strength and proves to be a true Omega - one who protects without the need for violence. She and Charles balance each other - he gives her the strength to accomplish things she never dreamed of, and she brings calm to his life.
Charles's relationship with "Brother Wolf" is another wonderful theme of Hunting Ground. Charles is different from other wolves - he was born a wolf, not changed. He and Brother Wolf are one soul, one man, but two spirits. They are inseparable, and if one dies, so does the other. His relationship between the two spirits is a harmonious, trustful one - sometimes he even allows Brother Wolf to take over completely, which is something that causes many other wolves to lose their lives (usually after the Marrok has instructed Charles to execute them since they are dangerous to those around them as well as to the werewolf existence).
I truly enjoyed every page of Hunting Ground. The various themes blended together effortlessly and left me wanting more terror, adventure, and romance. I can't wait for the 3rd Alpha and Omega book to hit the shelves!